A long time coming, bruhh.
A long time coming, bruhh.
As I get older, the more clarity I seem to have on myself as a person. When each year passes, I know myself a little more and understand what makes me tick, what makes me joyous and what makes me sad. What is it they say? In youth we learn, in old age we understand.
Now, I’m only just 28 so I’m not quite over the hill yet! But what once may have made me sit in my bedroom struck with anxiety, unable to cope, may now become a small blip in my day, before I am able to simply move on. Issues such as friendship woes, career dips, a fight with my partner, or even what I see on the scales at the gym, I now look at through experienced eyes and fix the problem with consideration and tact.
Something I’m struggling slightly more with however, is the ability to love my own body and face. I’ve always felt I’m fighting a losing battle against myself. As I’m getting older too, the mirror has seen a lot of action whilst I poke and prod my face, worrying over new fine lines and wondering if I’ve always had that freckle.
I read a brilliant article in the Metro recently, about a girl learning to love herself. She said: “For so long, I pictured my body as temporary and so never made it a home…I didn’t touch it, feed it or love it properly, but focused on how little time I could spend in it.”
This really struck a chord with me and actually made me quite tearful. For so long, I have had this ‘ideal’ me in my head, waiting for the time when I finally become that person. In reality, I’ve been ignoring the person I truly am and missing the beauty of myself completely. I look back at pictures of myself at uni and see how wonderful I looked, although I can recall the struggle it would have taken me to leave the house that day. I wish I could tell her.
Something else I’ve learnt over the last couple of years is how much my body can tell me about how I feel. The bloating I once wrote off as ‘fat’ is now dealt with using a personalised diet plan, because my body wasn’t enjoying what I put into it. My skin, where once a flare-up of eczema on my eyelids, my thighs, my stomach would cause a flash of annoyance, now tells me that I’m super stressed about something. I now take a step back, analyse what might be upsetting me (as I may not have even realised it myself, yet) and then take action.
Of course, dealing with the problem helps, but the skin issue remains for a while. Again, experience comes with age. I used to think that stripping the skin with chems and exposing it to sunlight helped (please don’t – I know). I now have a wide range of products that help me when I’m having a flare-up, and I can usually combat any problem patches before it gets out of control. Something I think that really helps is the focus on good skincare in the media and the absolute transparency many brands have on which ingredients they use and what exactly they do.
I’m not a full-on lover of myself quite yet, although I’m all for supporting other women in their journeys to self-love. I always try to remember: no one is criticising you more than you are criticising yourself.
These things take time however, and when you’ve thought in a certain way for so long, it can be a hard habit to break. I think becoming more self-aware about the potential to love ourselves is a fantastic step forward – and something I’ll take as a win.
I’m looking forward to seeing what stage I’m at – where we’re ALL at – in another ten years. Fingers crossed we love ourselves completely, eczema and all.
This blog post was written as part of an Epaderm competition. Epaderm® is available online, in-store and on prescription.
When I was about 8 or 9, we visited my Grandmother in London. I remember looking out across her balcony at the city and saying that one day, I’d live in London. That sounds very romantic, we are talking about Archway here…but I never forgot that, and it’s something I worked towards when studying for exams. I’ve now been in London for ten years. TEN! I’d known this anniversary was coming for a while and wanted to mark it somehow.
On 19th September 2009, I packed pretty much everything I owned and my mum drove me to Clayhill Student Halls in Kingston upon Thames. It was the first time I’d been away from home and I was low-key dreading it. However, I absolutely knew that I wanted to leave my hometown and be independent.
When my mum had left and I’d made my tiny room my own, I sat on the bed and realised that I was truly alone there. I began to panic and worry I’d made the wrong decision, when the door buzzed. It was the girls downstairs inviting me for a drink. And so began my life.
The last ten years have been a bit of a ride for me. Not so much ups and downs but glorious fun interspersed with absolute rock bottom.
I could write my life story, but ain’t nobody got time for that, so here’s a list of some of the notable things that have happened to me over ten years in London.
So, so much has changed and I’m a completely different person to the girl who arrived in London singing Taylor Swift’s 2008 album down the motorway and not knowing what to expect. I still don’t to be honest, but I’ve learned it’s half the fun. At the risk of sounding super wanky, I’m still on my journey, figuring out who I am.
If you’d like me to properly write up anything you found interesting in the above, let me know.
Life is about to change again, with our impending nuptials. Where will we be in another ten years? Let’s wait and see.
My fiancé can fall asleep anywhere. I mean anywhere – on a bus, the tube, waiting for me in a dressing room – but also within seconds in his own bed. My ability to sleep, conversely, is a different story. I’ve always struggled with falling asleep and am an incredibly light sleeper – but in more recent years falling asleep has become a real problem.
I believe this stems from my anxiety disorder. Sometimes I’ll just be struck with this intense dread that I can’t shake. It feels as though I’m just about to take the biggest exam of my life. It rises deep from within and can sometimes feel like a physical pain. Alas, the bloody exam doesn’t even exist.
I can lie awake for hours even though I’m so tired and then struggle to focus on the next day with no sleep. How about an afternoon nap, you might say? Forget it. I could never.
HOWEVER, there are many reasons why insomnia can occur and ways you can ease it.
Episodes of insomnia are suuuuper common. In fact, it’s estimated that a third of us will struggle with it at some time in our lives.
Although I do struggle with falling asleep, I’ve developed my own ‘sleep hygiene’ system which sometimes works for me. This includes things like avoiding alcohol, not drinking any caffeine after 12pm, not eating a big meal past 8pm and doing my best to stay off my phone when I’m in bed. You can read more about sleep hygiene here. After a good night’s sleep, I feel much more productive and clear-headed.
Sometimes though, it’s worth looking into a little extra help.
Listening to your body truly is key. If you’re struggling, it may be time to make some adjustments to your sleep routine. Easy changes, like turning off your phone and computer an hour before bed, meditating, going to bed at the same time each night and making sure your room is dark can all improve your odds of catching a good night’s sleep. If you’re still struggling though, it may be time to speak to your GP.
At the risk of sounding like the most boring person alive, I love doing our weekly food shop. We always plan our meals and heading to Morrisons for our weekly meander around the aisles is one of my favourite things to do with Will.
He’s the trolley-pusher, I’m the list holder and item picker. If they had an Olympics for fastest couple to scan and bag, we’d win. However, I love it not simply because of the cracking deals, but because we’ve had some of our best conversations in Morrisons.
Good and bad, those aisles have seen a fair whack of emotions throughout our relationship. We had our first conversation about moving in together near the crisps. The pasta aisle saw me slam some pesto into the trolley and flounce off ahead because Will had to unexpectedly work that night [and I was just being a wee cow tbh]. Don’t worry, we had made up by the time we got to the bread. World foods saw me have a near-panic attack and shed a few tears over a horrible situation near the start of this year, and confectionary saw us have a debate about the amount of sugar our future children should have(!)
We also talk through our plans for the week, what we’ve got coming up, what’s on our minds and how we feel about things in general.
There might be some science behind this though. According to WalkCoachLearn: “When we sit down we are often face-to-face. This can produce a sense of confrontation – me versus you. When we walk, we are side-by-side. We are moving together facing the problem and working together to find solutions – us versus the problem.”
We know, no matter how busy our weeks are, that we’ll have at least one, dedicated hour or so in which we are focused on each other and what we each have to say. When we’re running around like crazy all week, it’s something to look forward to.
It can be hard to look someone in the eye when you’re talking about something difficult. Being side-by-side can make you feel more at ease and less under pressure.
It’s food shopping, not rocket science. But it’s a task we’ve done hundreds of times and it’s like a well-oiled machine. We’re a team in smashing out a weekly shop AND understanding each other on a deeper level.
Have ye ever tried to push a trolley when on your phone? It doesn’t work very well. For this time, we are focused only on each other and there’s no TV, phones, or other people [bar the general public – JEEZ] to distract us.
Of course, Morrisons isn’t a holy, fluorescent pilgrimage site for pre-marital conversations. Anywhere you can walk and talk will work – the park is a good one. Additionally, you don’t need to be as far down the relationship path as we are. First dates can be awkward AF and the thought of sitting opposite someone might fill you with dread. Instead, walk through Borough Market or along Southbank to ease the pressure.
Seriously though, next time you need to have a difficult chat or just talk freely – take a walk [or get yerself down to Morrisons].